Principles of evolutionary medicine — The book

Since the publication of Randolph Nesse and George C. Williams’ Why we get sick: the new science of Darwinian medicine (1994), there has been a growing list of books and edited volumes devoted to evolutionary medicine, or the application of evolutionary biology knowledge to human medicine. Yet there has been no integrated or comprehensive textbook which sets out the basic principles of evolutionary biology for medical readers and explores how medicine and public health might use this knowledge.

The aim of the textbook Principles of evolutionary medicine (2009), an Oxford University Press textbook by Peter Gluckman, Mark Hanson and Alan Beedle is to fill this gap. This section of the website provides an overview of the book content following its organization. Individual chapters can also be accessed through the navigation bar above.

The book has been reviewed in:

It can be ordered at

Part 1 Fundamentals of evolutionary biology

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Evolutionary theory
Chapter 3: The molecular basis of variation and inheritance
Chapter 4: Evolution and development
Chapter 5: Evolution of life histories
Chapter 6: Human evolution and the origins of human diversity

Part 2 Understanding human disease from an evolutionary perspective

Chapter 7: Reproduction
Chapter 8: Nutrition and metabolic adaptation
Chapter 9: Defence
Chapter 10: Social organization and behaviour

Part 3 An evolutionary framework for health and disease

Chapter 11: Evolutionary principles applied to medical practice
Coda: Evolutionary medicine and society